Mar 162015
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Radiant St. James’s Church appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David Morrell prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hillthe third post about Lord Palmerston’s House, the fourth post about Jay’s Mourning Warehouse, and the fifth post about the Crystal Palace.

If asked to name the most impressive church in London, most people would say, “St. Paul’s cathedral.”

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They might be surprised to learn that its designer, the great English architect, Sir Christopher Wren, considered a quite different, small, simple church to be his favorite creation.

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This is St. James’s church in the southeastern corner of Mayfair. Located just south of Piccadilly, its elegant simplicity presents a dramatic contrast with St. Paul’s. Narrow, only three stories tall, the church is constructed of plain red brick, with white cornerstones and arched windows. Its steeple has a clock, a brass ball, and a weathervane. That is the limit of the outside decoration.

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But it wasn’t for its exterior that St. James’s acquired its renown. Wren designed the windows so that sunlight streams in, reflects off the white walls, and radiates glory throughout the relatively plain interior. This photograph was taken on a cloudy day, and yet the light blazing in from the right is palpable.

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As this 1806 illustration indicates, back then St. James’s pews weren’t arranged in rows, with an entrance on each side. Instead the partitions of each pew formed a sizeable compartment, known as a box. Some had pillows and carpeting. Some had a table on which hats and coats could be placed. Some even had curtains and a canopy. Members of the congregation rented these box pews, the doors to which remained locked, except during services. Pew openers kept the keys, dusted the pews, polished the wood, and unlocked the doors when the pew renters arrived. In Inspector of the Dead, the box-pew system has deadly consequences. (The objects in the aisle are seats where the poor were allowed to sit.)

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Radiant St. James’s Church appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Mar 022015
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: The Magnificent Crystal Palace appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hillthe third post about Lord Palmerston’s House, and the fourth post about Jay’s Mourning Warehouse.

The first world’s fair took place in London in 1851. Championed by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, it demonstrated the might and majesty of the British Empire. Officially called the Great Exhibition, it quickly became known as the Crystal Palace exhibition because of the amazing building in which it occurred.Crystal1

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Essentially a large greenhouse, the Crystal Palace was composed of 900,000 square feet of glass plates secured in a wrought-iron framework. It occupied a massive fifty-eight acres of Hyde Park and stretched twelve stories high, so tall that full-grown elm trees were left in place as interior landscaping.

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So vast was the space that two huge organs, two hundred other instruments, and six hundred singers could barely be heard when the queen and Prince Albert attended the opening ceremony. Inspector of the Dead dramatizes that ceremony and a fateful historical incident that happened there, involving a real-life mysterious figure who emerged from the crowd and approached the queen.

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When the world’s fair ended in October of 1851, the Crystal Palace was disassembled and recreated at Sydenham Hill, a semi-rural area south of the Thames.

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There it remained, in a gradually deteriorating condition until fire destroyed it in 1936.

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The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: The Magnificent Crystal Palace appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Feb 172015
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Jay’s Mourning Warehouse appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, the second post about Constitution Hill, and the third post about Lord Palmerston’s House.

Victorian society was preoccupied about death, obeying elaborate rules about how to react to it. A grieving family was expected to put on severe mourning garments immediately after a loved one died and remain at home for several weeks following the funeral—except for a widow who stayed at home, in the blackest of clothes, for a year and a day.

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The link between grief and clothes inspired an entrepreneur, W.C. Jay, to create Jay’s Mourning Warehouse in 1841, selling bereavement garments of every type and size.

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Jay began with one address on fashionable Regent Street, but the death business became so brisk that he expanded into the shop next door. By the 1850s, he had expanded the business so often that it occupied most of the block.

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The most extreme case of grief involved Queen Victoria, who was one of Jay’s customers. Following the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, the queen dressed in mourning for the next forty years. In Inspector of the Dead, Jay’s warehouse and his funereal garments play a major role in the story.

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Jay’s Mourning Warehouse appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Feb 022015
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Eerie Lord Palmerston’s House appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia, and the second post about Constitution Hill.

During the 1800s, Lord Palmerston (nicknamed Lord Cupid because of his numerous love affairs) was one of the most powerful English politicians: a war secretary, foreign secretary, home secretary, and prime minister.

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His famous Mayfair house, where he welcomed London’s rich and powerful, is located across from Green Park on Piccadilly. It’s readily identified because it’s the only Piccadilly property that’s set back from the street. The two gates and the curved driveway make it easy to recognize.

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In 1850, the residence was known as Cambridge House because Queen Victoria’s uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, owned it. On 27 June, the queen visited him and attracted so much attention that by the time she emerged from the house, a considerable crowd blocked the street, preventing her carriage from leaving.

One member of the crowd, Robert Francis Pate, was more interested in walking onward than looking at the queen. Angry that his way was blocked, he pushed his way toward the royal carriage, raised his cane, and struck Queen Victoria across the forehead. Shockingly, he drew blood. (For the full scene, preorder Inspector of the Dead.) Pate was the fifth man to threaten the queen. Declared as insane as it’s possible for a sane person to be, he was exiled to Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania).

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After the Duke of Cambridge died, Lord Palmerston bought the property, which continued to be known as Cambridge House. Following Lord Palmerston’s death in 1865, it was acquired by the Naval and Military Club, which placed traffic-direction signs—IN at one gate and OUT at the other—causing the property to be nicknamed the In and Out Club. If you look closely at the initial photograph of Cambridge House, you can see the modern versions of the signs. Also, note how different the front wall looked in 1850 compared to now.

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Deserted since the 1990s, Cambridge House fell into disrepair. Although two billionaire brothers announced their intention to renovate it for £214 million and make it the most expensive residential property in London, repairs had not begun as of early 2014, and the ghost of Lord Palmerston seemed to haunt it.

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Beyond a fence on the opposite side of Piccadilly, this is the spectacular view of Green Park that Lord Palmerston would have enjoyed. The middle path leads down to Buckingham Palace. In Murder as a Fine Art, Thomas De Quincey flees for his life through this park.

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Eerie Lord Palmerston’s House appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Jan 212015
 

The post In Conversation with Douglas Purdy about Serpents in the Cold appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Serpents in the Cold by Thomas O'Malley and Douglas PurdyThe first novel in Thomas O’Malley and Douglas Purdy’s Boston Saga, Serpents in the Cold, has just been published by Mulholland Books. Kirkus Reviews calls it a “bone-crunching, gut-wrenching novel . . . It delivers noir fiction like we always want it to be.” Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Mulholland Books: Tell us how you two decided to partner up to write Serpents in the Cold.

Douglas Purdy: Twenty years ago, Tom and I met at the UMass-Boston campus along the grey-slate waters of the Boston Harbor. Fittingly enough, it was for a class on Detective and Crime Fiction. Later in a creative-writing workshop, Tom began writing “The Iscariot Kiss,” his protagonist named Cal O’Brien, and I started working on “The Wooden Man,” featuring a desperate junky, Dante Cooper. Over pints of Guinness one night, we sat in the corner of a pub, The Field (Cambridge, Mass) and discussed what would happen if O’Brien and Cooper were to meet on the same page. At one point we had them in Los Angeles, another time in some nameless Gothic city. Years later, we decided it was finally time to have Cooper & O’Brien team up—and not in any other city but our own, Boston. We were in Cape Cod, and Tom and I came up with the opening scene on Tenean Beach, a beach that my mother used to go to in the 1940s, and one that Tom went to when visiting Boston from overseas. During that meeting, we asked ourselves, “Who is this woman [found dead on the beach], Sheila?” And from that point on, we explored this dark world of 1951 Boston and decided that the novel had to take place during one of the worst winters on record. For over the next four years and countless pages, we finished Serpents in the Cold. We hoped that it not only served the genre well, but also our city. Boston is both Cal and Dante, two men who could not have come from any other place in America.

Mulholland: Tell us more about Cal O’Brien and Dante Cooper, the central characters who drive the investigation in Serpents in the Cold.

Purdy: For me, reading David Goodis, Jim Thompson, and Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key really shaped the dark place Dante was coming from. I knew that Dante wouldn’t exist in the modern world—he’d probably be an obituary in the first few chapters. His era had to be the 1940s or 1950s, wearing a beat-up fedora, dirty gabardine slacks, a penchant for jazz and junk, a fragment of the man he was before the overdose of his wife, Margo. He was interesting to me because he is one who skirts the underworld, the pool halls and flophouses where the lecherous and the downtrodden live—all while representing some form of righteousness that may or may not lead to some redemption in the end. Cal is an ex-cop, and he’s a war veteran. He comes from a different place, but still a place where violence is prevalent, and with their shared past, we thought they’d be a unique duo with many stories to tell.

Wintry Boston in the 1950sMulholland: Aside from your personal ties to Boston, why did you choose to set Serpents in the Cold in such a particular time and place? 

Purdy: I think some crime novels lack a full sense of atmosphere, and it was important to both Tom and I to create a rich, layered one for this novel. We wanted an atmosphere that also had an isolated feel to it, and how more isolated can you get than the cold and the snow, the worst winter on record? Also, Boston as a city is not known for being overly kind. It has a hard-knuckled introspective manner to it, uniquely Northeastern. So it’s a perfect place for ambiguity and deception, a locale where corruption and violence can take effect. Not only does the oppressive weather augment the claustrophobic elements in tandem with the damaged psyches of the characters, but it also paints a widescreen cinematic effect. Boston is a beautiful city, but by the winter, a gray pallor seems to suck the life out of the streets. The waters turn to slate, the skies turn raw and bleak, and the collective moods of the population sour and become downright miserable.

Mulholland: What was it like to co-write a novel?

Purdy: Collaborating with a friend is equal parts excitement and hard work. Writers are solitary creatures, so I wouldn’t recommend two writer friends going into a novel together, unless they have a strong grasp of the book before starting on Chapter One. There were times when we wanted to put out a hit on one another, but in the end, such disagreements only pushed us to work harder at solving a difficult chapter. We scrapped scenes, took them back out in the alley and put a few bullets in their heads, and then buried them without thinking of them ever again. Other times, a chapter floundered and one of us would come in and breathe new life into it. There was plenty of “pitching” involved, and like any Hollywood meeting, we sometimes responded to each other’s proposals with laughter or dismay. In the end, one of the biggest positives was that when one of us was down, the other would be there to get the fire stoked again, a crucial plus as both Tom and I continue to write Cal & Dante novels in our “Boston Saga.”

The post In Conversation with Douglas Purdy about Serpents in the Cold appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Jan 032015
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: The Killing Ground of Constitution Hill appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations. Read the first post about Mayfair and Belgravia.

Almost every day for many years, Queen Victoria’s schedule included a carriage ride at 6 p.m. Her timetable was printed in London’s newspapers. Her route was usually the same. The carriage left Buckingham Palace, turned left onto Constitution Hill, rode up to Hyde Park, veered left into the park, came back to Constitution Hill, and returned to the Palace.

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This is Constitution Hill as it appears today. Buckingham Palace is to the left, out of sight.

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In the 1840s, four men took advantage of Queen Victoria’s predictable schedule and shot at her from this approximate spot. In fact, one of them (Edward Oxford) shot at her twice, and another (John Francis) tried to shoot at her two days in a row. All told, from 1840 to 1882, seven men tried to attack her.

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The first attacker was Edward Oxford. In this 1840 watercolor, Oxford stands next to the horse on the right, aiming one of his two pistols. Note the spiked fence and Green Park in the background. The fence has a prominent role in Inspector of the Dead.

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This alternate, highly romanticized watercolor of Edward Oxford’s attack shows his second pistol (in his left hand). Prince Albert did not try to shield Queen Victoria as this depiction indicates. Beyond the commotion, note the Palace wall on the opposite side of Constitution Hill. Like the spiked fence at Green Park, that wall has an important role in Inspector of the Dead.

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The second man to shoot at Queen Victoria was John Francis in 1842. This crude newspaper engraving pretends to be a depiction of the event, but it is actually a clumsy recreation of one of the watercolors showing Edward Oxford’s attempt.

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The fourth man to shoot at Queen Victoria was William Hamilton in 1849. Again, note the spiked fence on one side of Constitution Hill and the Palace wall on the opposite side.

The fifth man to attack Queen Victoria was Robert Francis Pate in 1850. The event occurred outside Lord Palmerston’s famous house on Piccadilly. For an engraving of that attack, please stay tuned for the final photo essay in this series.

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Dec 222014
 

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Mayfair and Belgravia appeared first on Mulholland Books.

David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead is set on the harrowing streets of 1855 London. A gripping Victorian mystery/thriller, its vivid historical details come from years of research. Here are photo essays that David prepared about the novel’s fascinating locations.

Much of Inspector of the Dead takes place in London’s wealthy Mayfair district. Ironically, in the 1600s, it was a disreputable field where drunken May Day (or May Fair) celebrations were held. By the 1700s, as London expanded westward, Mayfair became a fashionable area, its impressive residences acquiring a uniform look because of the Portland stone that was used to construct them.

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This is Half Moon Street, off a major street known as Piccadilly. In the novel, several shocking murders occur in one of these magnificent buildings.

By the 1820s, an even wealthier area became fashionable. Located southwest of Buckingham Palace, Belgravia sounds like a mythical kingdom in an operetta, but in fact, the name derives from the aristocratic Belgrave family, who developed the area. Its adjacent white-stuccoed houses rivaled those of Mayfair, with the added luxury that the streets were wider. Many of the buildings now function as embassies.

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This is the Chester Square section of Belgravia. The shaded area contains a garden. Commissioner Mayne, co-founder of London’s Metropolitan Police, lived here. In Inspector of the Dead, he fights for his life in one of these splendid buildings.

The post Visiting Inspector of the Dead: Mayfair and Belgravia appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Nov 112014
 

The post Mulholland Books at Bouchercon 2014 appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Bouchercon 2014 Bouchercon has always been one of the highlights of my year, but this year, I’m especially excited because 1.) it’s November 2.) Bouchercon will be beachside 3.) …in southern California, where it’s currently sunny and 70 degrees. SOLD!

I’m also excited about the wonderful programming lined up for this year. Mulholland’s authors are on panels that touch upon every corner of the mystery world: comics, noir, cyberspace, film and TV, political thrillers…you name it, one of our favorite authors is talking about it. You can find a handy list of our authors’ events below.

But first, a little advice: on Saturday morning, between 7:30am and 12:30pm, head to the Bouchercon hospitality suite in the Seaview Rotunda, because coffee and pastries are on us. If you time it just right, you’ll walk away with a free galley of a forthcoming Mulholland book!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13

11:30-12:30 Crime Goes Visual: Graphic and Comic Novels with Duane Swierczynski, author of the Charlie Hardie series and Canary (Regency B)

4-5 Noir Comes in Many Flavors with Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind (Regency C)

5:30-6:30 Noir at the Bar with Duane Swierczynski and Chris Holm (Regency C)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14

10-11 Masters of Suspense in Conversation with David Morrell, author of Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead (Promenade 104B)

3-4 Keep Them in Their Places or Let Them Steal the Scenes: The Importance of Sidekicks with Marcia Clark, author of the Rachel Knight series (Seaview)

3-4 Murder in Cyberspace with Matthew Quirk, author of The 500, The Directive, and an forthcoming title for Mulholland Books (Regency B)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15

Mulholland Books Bouchercon 2014

click to enlarge

Come by the hospitality suite to join Mulholland’s authors for coffee and pastries! We’ll be giving away free advance copies of new books by Sebastian Rotella, David Morrell, Richard Lange, Malcolm Mackay, C.J. Sansom, Duane Swierczynski, and Thomas O’Malley and Douglas Purdy. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram @mulhollandbooks to find out when specific books will be given away…or take a chance and come by the Seaview Rotunda to see what’s on offer! You won’t walk away empty-handed…or empty-bellied.

8:00-8:30 Duane Swierczynski will sign and give away galleys of his forthcoming novel, Canary, in the Seaview Rotunda hospitality suite. We’ll also have some extremely limited edition Canary pins to hand out.

8:30-8:50 Author Focus on Ralph Pezzullo, co-writer with Don Mann of the Hunt series of SEAL Team Six novels (Harbor C)

8:30-10:30 Men of Mystery with David Morrell and Matthew Quirk (Promenade 104BC)

11:00-11:30 Sebastian Rotella will sign and give away galleys of his forthcoming novel, The Convert’s Song, in the Seaview Rotunda hospitality suite.

11:30-12:00 David Morrell will sign and give away galleys of his forthcoming De Quincey novel, Inspector of the Dead, in the Seaview Rotunda hospitality suite.

1:30-2:30 Ordinary Guys Driven to Extraordinary Lengths with Richard Lange, author of Angel Baby and Sweet Nothing (Regency C). We’ll be giving away free advance copies of Sweet Nothing at Lange’s post-panel signing!

4:30-5:30 A Conversation with Michael Connelly and Sebastian Rotella (Promenade 104BC). Rotella is the author of Triple Crossing and the forthcoming novel, The Convert’s Song.

4:30-5:30 Make Ours Noir: Why We Love the Genre with Duane Swierczynski (Seaview)

4:30-5:30 Screen to Prose with Derek Haas, author of The Right Hand (Regency D)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16

8:30-9:30 Cross-Cultural Crimes with Sebastian Rotella (Seaview)

8:30-9:30 Close Enough for Government Work with Derek Haas (Regency BC)

The post Mulholland Books at Bouchercon 2014 appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Oct 072014
 

The post Start Reading one of October’s Scariest Books: Brood by Chase Novak appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Brood by Chase NovakPoor Adam and Alice Twisden. Those twins have been through a lot—the death of their parents, the decimation of their childhood home. Years have passed since the events of Breed, and the twins’ aunt, Cynthia, wants to make things right, starting with the cleanup of the Twisdens’ Manhattan townhouse. Only, as you’ll read in Brood’s opening pages below, cleaning up is a tall order.

PROLOGUE

They were not here to clean up a crime scene. That grisly work had been accomplished two years ago by RestorePro, when the town house on Sixty-Ninth Street was closer to hell’s ninth circle than it was to its former incarnation—a stylish, impeccable, historically correct Upper East Side town house, one of the few left in New York City that had remained in the same family since its construction. Its last owner had been Alex Twisden, who had lived there his entire life, first as a child, then as a playboy, then as a corporate lawyer obsessed with his work, then as a somewhat reclusive bachelor, then as the newly wed husband of a beautiful younger woman named Leslie Kramer, then as the father of twins, and, finally, stemming from the fertility treatments he and Leslie endured in order to procreate, as a kind of beast for which neither science nor folklore has a name.

RestorePro’s workers, decked out in muck boots, respirators, and HAZMAT suits, had swooped in. Of course, the worst
thing about the cleanup was the blood, the hair, the fur, the bones, and the teeth, the parts of bodies for which neither Alex nor Leslie had a taste—they both eschewed ears, and found feet as a rule inedible. But there was a lot more to do than simply remove the evidence showing that for a time the elegant old house had been an abattoir. There was disinfecting to be done. There were odors to be dispelled and others that could only be covered up. There were scratches in the plaster, claw marks deeply grooved into the wooden floors. There were piles of smashed furniture—it looked as if crazed vandals had gotten into the storeroom of Sotheby’s before an antiques auction. Once-precious Blackthorn wallpaper, brought into the house by William Morris himself, hung in long drooping curls. Sconces had been torn from the walls; sofas had become public housing for all manner of rodents. RestorePro’s motto was No One Will Know, but though the workers did their job diligently, and did not stint on labor or time, the house they left behind when they finally got to the end of their contract still bore the ineffable marks of a place where something hideous had happened. You did not have to believe in the spirit world to sense that an aura of misery and doom hung over the place, even after it had been scrubbed clean.

Two years passed. If the house was haunted, the ghosts had it to themselves. The doors were locked. The shutters were closed. The electricity and the gas were disconnected. Alex’s estate paid the taxes on the place, though his once-sizable fortune had been severely compromised in the ten years between the fertility treatments in Slovenia and his sudden bone-crunching death in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was struck down by a Fifth Avenue bus. (Leslie’s violent death—more clearly by her own design—came shortly after, on a tarmac at the Ljubljana Airport.) Alex Twisden’s sister wanted nothing to do with the place, and though Leslie’s sister, Cynthia Kramer, an antiques dealer herself, had always had a love for the house that bordered on lust, she was not in line to inherit it. It really belonged to Alex and Leslie’s twins, Adam and Alice, but they were only ten years old when their parents died and had been left to float unhappily through the troubled, murky waters of New York’s foster-care system.

Their mother’s will had been quite clear on the subject: the twins were to go to her sister, Cynthia. But the law moved slowly, following its own maddening path, and two years passed before Cynthia had a date in Surrogate Court to finalize her adoption of the children. She would move from San Francisco to New York, and the twins would be restored to their old home—a site of countless terrifying nights, but nevertheless the only real home they had ever known.

Cynthia did not know these children very well, but she was thrilled to suddenly have an opportunity to be a mother, a chance she would have said, even recently, was as remote as her becoming secretary of state or a rock star. She granted that, once upon a time, Alex and her sister had been loving parents to the twins, but the last year or two with their parents had been terror-filled, and the time in foster care, well, who knew what damage that had done to them? Cynthia accepted the fact that the twins would need rehabilitation, a lot of it. Therapy perhaps. Tons of love, for sure.

She had tons of love.

And more where that came from. She had never been more certain of anything in her entire life. She could and would love these children back to health. She would return to them their birthright—to be well educated, to be safe, to be cared for, and to live in their beautiful house.

And so, as the wheels of the legal system slowly turned, Cynthia presided over the final renovations of the house on Sixty-Ninth Street from the opposite coast, organizing the whole thing via e-mails, phone calls, and Skype from her shop in Pacific Heights. There were light fixtures to be torn out and replaced, a kitchen to be modernized, nine bathrooms to be redone, some in need of a little twenty-first-century touch-up, some needing . . . everything. There was furniture to purchase, windows to be replaced and curtained or shuttered; there was flooring so brutally scarred that it needed to be torn up and replaced, and there were sixteen rooms that needed repainting.

The most pressing job, however, was the cellar. It was here that Alex and Leslie kept their tragic menagerie, the cats and dogs, some bought at pet shops, some “rescued” from various shelters in the tristate area. The cages and cramped runs in which these doomed beasts were once confined had to be removed, and all evidence of their ever having existed had to be completely erased. The cages were heavy and had been bolted into the cellar’s stone walls. Mack Flaherty, the contractor overseeing the entire job, had saved the cellar for last, and to make certain it was finished on time—Cynthia was due in New York in a week—he hired more men. They worked fourteen-hour days to get the job done. A few of the workers heard the squeak and scratch of rodents in the walls, but it was in nobody’s best interest to admit to it. The finish line was in sight. Cynthia was on her way. Let’s get ’er done, was the mantra; all the guys were saying it. Let’s get ’er done.

The post Start Reading one of October’s Scariest Books: Brood by Chase Novak appeared first on Mulholland Books.

Oct 042014
 

The post What Do You Do With A Pile Of Jim Thompson Books? appeared first on Mulholland Books.

We sent Rob Hart, the associate publisher of MysteriousPress.com, all 25 of the Jim Thompson paperbacks that we reissued in August. He wrote in to report on what he did with them.

Working in publishing comes with a few perks.

Say, for example, you’re grabbing breakfast with a pal and you profess your love for Jim Thompson. Turns out, that pal masterminded the re-release of a good portion of Thompson’s oeuvre in paperback and eBook.

Then one day you come home from work to find this pile of beauties sitting on your doorstep: Pile of Jim Thompson books

That is a lot of Jim Thompson. And it begs the question: What exactly does one do with such a giant pile of books? Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I came up with a couple of ideas…

Post a picture of the stack to Facebook so that your friends will seethe with jealousy. Rob Hart Facebook chat

Use them to get to hard-to-reach spots… like a locked window. Jim Thompson stepladder

Load them into a pillowcase. They’re softer than locks, but still good at delivering a message, without the risk of breaking bones. Jim Thompson is not soft.

They’re great for smuggling weapons. Jim Thompson weapons

Use them to weigh down a gas pedal. This is especially helpful if you need a car to go over a cliff and then explode so that any lingering trace evidence will be burned up. Jim Thompson on the gas pedal

Read them! A Swell-Looking Babe

Thompson rakes his fingernails across your soul. I mean that in the best way possible.

I remember my first: Pop. 1280, recommended to me by a writing instructor. It’s a slim volume, and such a slow burn. The narrator, Sheriff Nick Corey, comes off as a buffoon—at least, in the beginning. But as the story shambles forward, you learn there’s something very dark beating under the floorboards of Corey’s soul. To say any more would be a disservice to those who haven’t read it. Luckily, while it’s not pictured here, it’s one of the 25 Thompson books re-released by Mulholland.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m not jealous—I would have loved to have these books available in our catalogue of backlist titles at MysteriousPress.com. But I’m happy to see that they’ll be more easily accessible to a new generation of readers. Thompson transcends genre and is truly one of history’s great writers. His prose is so immediate, his descent into the depths of the human condition so complete, he’s one of those writers who deserves to be read.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do…

Rob Hart is associate publisher at MysteriousPress.com and class director at LitReactor. He is the author of The Last Safe Place: A Zombie Novella, and his debut novel, New Yorked, will be released by Polis on June 9. Learn more at his website, www.robwhart.com

The post What Do You Do With A Pile Of Jim Thompson Books? appeared first on Mulholland Books.